Phenolab: ultra-wide band tracking of individual group housed laying hens

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract

Abstract

Farm animals are generally kept in groups of varying sizes. It is challenging to monitor thebehaviour of individual animals when they are housed in a group. To aid to this need, we havetested an innovative new automatic sensor technology which can track individuals in a group.With the use of this ultra-wide band tracking device and recording beacons, we were able totrack individual laying hens in an equipped arena (project PhenoLab). Hens had an activesending tag in a backpack. Every 30 s location of each tag was recorded. TrackLab softwareprovided distance moved and movement patterns based on location data. With this set-up,we tested if we could detect differences between birds who feather peck and victims of thebehaviour. We used a White Leghorn line selected on high feather pecking for 11 generations.Prior to tracking, home pen observations were made to record who was the feather peckerand who was the victim based on giving or receiving more than 2 severe FP per 0.5 h summedover observation times. FP data was obtained weekly from a 15 min video-recording from at28 and 29 weeks of age. Independent t-test was performed for comparison. At 37 weeks of agehens were tested inside a 8×7 m empty test-room with their pen-mates for 15 minutes. Featherpeckers tended to walk a greater distance (t15=1.89, P=0.07; 9,286±1,660 vs 5,251±1,361 cm)and had a higher average speed when moving (t15=2.62, P=0.02; 9.5±1 vs 5.5±1.1 m/s2) thanvictims. These results indicate that with automatic locomotor data differences in behaviouraltraits of individual birds can be detected, which affect welfare on a group level. Moreover, thesystem could be used to predict changes in activity patterns and detect individuals that haveor will perform damaging behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 7th International Conference on the Assessment of Animal Welfare at Farm and Group Level
EditorsIngrid C. De Jong, Paul Koene
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Pages260-260
ISBN (Electronic)9789086868629
ISBN (Print)9789086863143
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event7th International Conference on the Assessment of Animal Welfare at Farm and Group level - Ede, Netherlands
Duration: 5 Sep 20178 Sep 2017

Conference

Conference7th International Conference on the Assessment of Animal Welfare at Farm and Group level
CountryNetherlands
CityEde
Period5/09/178/09/17

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